On Monday, a South 43 Water Corporation customer in Oak Ridge Estates northwest of Greencastle contacted Water Superintendent Jeff O'Neal about a device he discovered being placed on a flush hydrant near his home.
The customer, thinking South 43 officials had attached the device to the flush hydrant for some reason, was concerned about the amount of leaking water present.
However, the device had been put there by someone stealing water, South 43 officials told the Banner Graphic.
In the process of that water theft, the hydrant has been damaged and will need to be replaced, officials said. The hydrant cap was forcibly removed in the incident in order to attach the device.
"In order to effectively protect our water supply," South 43 Water Superintendent O'Neal said, "we need local members of the community to be vigilant in observing activity around the hydrants, pump station and water meters."
The Putnam County Sheriff's Department is looking into the recent incident, O'Neal said.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water has confirmed that tampering with a public water supply is a federal offense.
Currently, South 43 Water serves 103 customers on its water line north of Greencastle and 431 customers on the water line south of Greencastle. South 43 purchases all of its water supply from Greencastle Municipal Utilities.
Anyone who finds an illegal water connection at a hydrant or sees a suspicious person loitering near a hydrant, pump station or water meter is asked to call South 43 Water Association at 657-5000 or Water Superintendent O'Neal at 720-9468.